Claro has stepped up its efforts to obtain the franchise license it requested more than three years ago to break into the island’s paid television market by launching an online signature collection campaign Friday in support of its IPTV service.
The movement began early in the day, when the company took advantage of its presence in social media platforms Twitter and Facebook to begin spreading the word on IPTV, or television programming provided via broadband, how it works and its benefits.
Among other things, Claro provided a simply worded definition of IPTV, saying it is a technology that enables clients to receive integrated entertainment services — TV, broadband and telephone — through a single connection. It also went on to list the features associated with its IPTV service: interactive tv; DVR options; advances search services; “picture-in-picture” browsing; vast “Video on Demand” selections; and multiple connectivity options, as customers can access and record programming through Xbox and PC Windows Media Center devices.
The company used the Internet to get people to sign the petition to vote in favor of IPTV and urging the Telecommunications Regulatory Board to approve Claro TV’s franchise request. Claro vowed to forward the results to the agency.
“Three years ago, Claro requested from the TRB a franchise license for IPTV for all of Puerto Rico,” the company said on a website dedicated to the campaign. “With a market entry by IPTV, the cable companies’ geographic monopolies will be broken as consumers will have a real quality alternative to existing services — all of which translate into greater competitiveness and better offers and prices. The arrival of IPTV in Puerto Rico will continue to encourage the provision of broadband, closing the digital divide.”
A hearing to glean the opinion of competitors and the public as to whether Claro’s petition meets public interest is slated for Monday. However, whether it takes place will depend on a court decision on a petition that Claro filed asking for its cancellation because, among other things, the TRB has asked the company to release competitive information for public scrutiny.
Claro’s bid to launch IPTV has been stalled by a long-drawn-out legal fight presented by San Juan cable provider OneLink, which critics say is blocking the arrival of the new service so that it can secure its own monopoly status, unchallenged pricing plans and somewhat outdated technology.
It was not possible late Friday to confirm how many votes Claro’s campaign had garnered during its first day.